My mom is sitting down at the table having a cup of her fake coffee. AsI look down at her, I notice a thick smear of something light green stuck in her hair. Huh?
So, I touch it. It’s sticky. I smell it. It smells minty. Aha!
I have to admit it. I laughed a lot.
She has a spot on her scalp that always seems to itch her. When she tells me about it, I put Scalpicin on it, and that helps. I guess this time as she combed her hair in the bathroom mirror, she picked up the first thing that looked like an ointment tube and rubbed it on the itch.
The last time she rubbed something strange on her body, it was on her lips and they swelled to the point where I had to take her to the doctor’s. As far as anyone could tell, it was an allergic reaction to something, and I think she had been rubbing her 30-year-old Lancome cream on her lips. I cleaned out her beauty lotion drawer and it hasn’t happened since.
She always seems to be fidgeting. Mostly she takes sheets of Kleenex and folds them into squares and loads her pockets with them. She insists on having tops and pants with pockets. Sometimes I miss emptying a few when I do her laundry. Even if I use those scent-free dryer softener sheets, those little bits that stick to the clothes are a bitch to pick off.
She would love to fold blankets and other larger squares, but she has a torn muscle in her left shoulder. Not only can’t she raise that arm, but the whole shoulder is painful, even though she’s had a cortisone shot. After Thanksgiving, I am going to arrange for a physical therapist to come over and help her with that arm. I think I finally found a place that is certified for Medicare.
Very often, she snaps. No, literally. She snaps and unsnaps those closings on the tops I buy her so that they are easy to get on and off. Last night, she was desperately trying to snap closed the edges of a very old pillow case that she had long ago sewed snaps on to keep closed. (I guess she’s always been obsessed with snaps.) When she went to sleep, I resewed the ones that were coming off and sewed on a few additional snaps so that she could have yet another snap-happy fiddle thing.
Actually, I found a site on the web where you can buy fidget things for people with dementia. Other sites suggest these stress-reduction toys. My mom will not fiddle with toys. She will only fiddle with things that are familiar to her; things that she has used in her role as wife and mother. Safety pins are one of those things. She finds them and pins them to the inside of her slacks. The other day I found her picking her teeth with the point of a large safety pin. She has a drawer full of various dental picks that I bought her. But she uses a safety pin. Sigh.
I spend a lot of time Googling for ideas on how to calm my mother, since her fidgeting is associated with her nervousness and anxieties. As a result, I sent for a really soft furry teddy bear and made a sweater for it with a Polish logo. You’ve heard of Polar Bears? Well, this is a Polish Bear:
I thought that stroking the bear’s fur might relax her. I thought the Polish theme would attract her. Nope. She knows it’s a toy. Cute, but no cigar.
Well, I tried.
In another day I’m planning to try to leave to go to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving. Actually, I’m going no matter what. I don’t know how my brother is going to manage, but I’m leaving enough food, clean underwear, desserts etc. so that my mom will have whatever she needs. He just has to make sure that she gets it all.
I can’t wait to see my grandson, who has been unofficially adopted by the guys in the local firehouse that his mom takes him to visit periodically. The last time he was there, they gave him a piece of real fire hose (including nozzle) and a door chock (whatever that is). His firefighter suit, of course, is compliments of Grammy.
He wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. Also the owner of a tree-cutting service. Or a road construction worker. Or some kind of para-medic/rescue worker.
I think he’s going to spend Thanksgiving rescuing his Grammy.